SNEAK PEAK! Two pages from my new Kid’s Book AWESOME IS EVERYWHERE

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Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 7.27.06 PMPreorder here!


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#232 Throwing non-ball objects to people

Why walk?

Tossing something from a distance saves you an annoying six-second commute around the kitchen counter or picnic table. Since we humans have evolved the ability to suddenly hear someone scream “Heads up!” before turning into a set of keys flying at our face, it’s good practice to keep the skills fresh. If you’re catching, just remember to start with the basics and move your way up the chain:

Level 1: Apples and oranges. Fruit is a good place to start. If you drop an orange, no worries — it just rolls away, still juicy and delicious. And the apple dent is completely edible. Getting beaned in the forehead with a banana stem could leave a mark, but it’s a sign of of toughness. Next time you’re down at the roller skating rink with the guys just point at the bruise and nod.

Level 2: Keys. There’s a lot to hold onto so this is still the minor leagues of throwing and catching non-ball objects. Fingers stabbing through rings, jingly keys catching on wild fingers, no problem, no problem. Make sure you never underestimate the surprise aerodynamics from a mini-flashlight, garage door opener, or Koosh ball keychain, though. There’s no shame in using two hands.

Level 3: Phones and remotes. Phones and remote controls are the perfect size and weight for an across-the-room toss, but make sure you check what’s surrounding the waiting hands. Cushion-covered couches and shag carpet? Yes! Ceramic-tiled floors and sidewalks? Broken!

Level 4: Unopened cans of soda or bottles of beer. Pulling out that ice-cold can of soda from the bottom of the melted freezing water in the backyard cooler is a good start. Whipping it across the deck is a good finish. Yes, there is some Minor Explosion Risk, but when you’re in the big leagues you gotta toss Cokes and beer bottles or go home, sister. If you’re going to cry about it then go back to clementines.

Level 5: Eggs and water balloons. Company picnics, family reunions, and summer camps are the height of tossing non-ball objects to people. Remember to keep taking a step back and taking a step back until someone ends up a wet salmonelly mess.

Yes, tossing non-ball objects to people is such a great high. It’s a brief second of air-sailing fun in the middle of your living room or backyard deck. You may even score acrobatic catches such as The Beer-Over-The-Campfire Grab, Upstairs-To-Downstairs Drop, or Reverse-Angle Cat Snag.

The important thing is to keep on throwing.

The important thing is to keep


The Book of (Even More) Awesome contains dozens of awesome things not on the blog. Read the first 20 pages here.

— Email message —

“When I was a kid I told my parents I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up. Flash forward a few years to where I’m an undergraduate student in psychology, and one of my courses is in a university research lab. Today, I was talking to one of the grad students and she mentioned that the way she describes her job to little kids is by telling them that she’s a scientist – since saying a “cognitive psychology researcher” would be too hard for them to understand. And that’s when it hit me I was on my way to becoming a “scientist” too. Knowing that your 6-year-old self would be proud of you for making your childhood dream come true is probably one of the most awesome feelings I’ve ever experienced!” – Tammy

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

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#233 When babies grab at your face with their tiny hands

There’s something adorable about tiny hands reaching up to grab your face or glasses with their baby strength.

Just watch out for the wolverine claws.


— Email message —

“When you are downloading a ton of photos onto your computer and find an amazing photo that you took that you’d completely forgotten about — one of those “worth-a-thousand-words” kind of photos. This is my son with my husband — still in uniform, just home from work. We leave a copy of The Book of (Even More) Awesome in our guest room and every guest wants to know where they can get a copy or tries to steal mine!” – Melissa, Arlington, Virginia

Photo from: here

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#234 3:00am conversations with your best friend

I grew up in the burbs.

Streetlights and neon signs scattered red and yellow glows on empty streets and dark houses. Going out late at night with friends meant entering small worlds in bedrooms and basements away from the emptiness of the outside.

Whenever those hangouts finished the scene quickly cut to late night cruises through warm summer breezes till everyone got dropped off at their distant driveways three blocks away.

And if you were the last to get dropped off then it was on those driveways when you might have a great 3:00am conversation with your best friend. Curfews were cute but getting home later was nothing compared to the flickering connections you’d get when there was nowhere else to go.

Deep thoughts, dark thoughts, head twists and turns, there’s so much to burn when the moon’s up, the sun’s down, and you’re hanging with someone you love. When the buzz of the day just fades far away it’s time to crackle and connect in a tiny picture-perfect moment of


— Email message —

“We would like to share our Wall of Awesome that our students created in our library after being inspired by The Book of Awesome. We also thought it would help during exam time to focus on the positve things in our lives and reduce stress.” – Angela and Darcie, École Charleswood School, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Photo from: here and here

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#235 Your thinking place

Your brain’s a drain.

Yup, according to our egghead pals over at Wikipedia, although our brains are only 2% of our body weight they use somewhere in the neighborhood of 25% of our body’s energy. Now that’s a lot, especially when you consider the energy-hogging hearts, lungs, and blood highways zig-zagging up and down our bony frames.

I heard a scientist give a speech once and he said can you believe it? Can you believe when humans first showed up we actually survived? After all, we had no camouflaged skin, no super hearing, and couldn’t fly. We couldn’t see in the dark, breathe underwater, or beat a monkey in a fistfight.

Basically, he said, we sucked.

Except for one little thing.

When we came around we had a three pound pile of flesh secretly stashed in our skulls. Our brains helped us develop tools, stone weapons, and hunting strategies. Our brains helped us socialize, fantasize, and dream. Essentially, we are our brains — and they’ve come to define everything we do. I’m using my brain to write this down you’re using yours to read it up.

I say nobody knows how far the thinking really goes. Sure, outer space goes way out forever but maybe inner space goes way in, too. Have you ever reached way back in your noggin’ and found a new conclusion, wild idea, or crazy thought? Back beyond your brain’s borders are big dreams twisting and turning … just waiting to let themselves out.

Your thinking place is where you go to nurture wild fires in your heart.

And maybe you dream in the shower, maybe you imagine in the car, maybe you wonder in the mirror, maybe you think in Myanmar. But wherever it is, wherever you go, wherever you sizzle, wherever you flow, well that thinking place is somewhere that helps you buzz and burn and become a little bit more


— Email message —

“Here are images of the books my grade 7/8 and 8 class created this spring.  Their ideas ranged  from racing the microwave to mud puddles to the end of a good book to moving to another country to doodling to helping others to new pencils.  Their creativity, enthusiasm and dedication far exceed my expectations.  This assignment was an opportunity to express themselves in the truest form and have fun while doing it.” – Ally Greig

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#236 When you hit that point in the book where you suddenly can’t stop reading

It happens out of nowhere.

The pace picks up, stories twist together, and suddenly the book is stuck in your hands. Your eyeballs grow wide and the clock keeps ticking as you go deeper and deeper into the dark hole that sends you straight to the last page.

You know you’ve hit that point if you’re almost skim-reading you’re so excited, if you’re clenching your bladder to avoid bathroom breaks, or you’re constantly flipping forwards to see how much is left before the end.

Here comes the big finish!


— Email message —

“While visiting a friend in London about a month ago, we stopped for a photo outside the Borough Market. When my son,who’s a student in NYC, saw the photo, he noticed his current college roommate, Tom, who is studying abroad in London for the semester, in the background. (navy blue shirt). We never saw Tom, but it’s awesome seeing someone you know in a photo from a faraway place.” – Amy

Photo from: here

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#237 When someone calls just to say hi

Are you a robot?

Sometimes I feel like one when I’m texting friends these days. My friendly hellos gets a bit sharp and edgy when they’re digitized in six-point font on tiny screens costing a few cents a message. Suddenly all the pleasant small talk in front of the conversation is chopped off with a hatchet knife and all that’s left is: you guys coming?, yeah 5 mins, k.

That’s what makes it so great when your phone actually rings and it’s someone calling just to say hello. Yes, whether it’s mom checking in before exams, an old college friend calling for no reason, or your brother across the country dropping into your day, it always means the same thing.

Someone’s thinking about you.


— Email message —

“A week ago my friends and I sat down for a late dinner after watching five hours of student films. Needless to say, we were pretty drained. We loaded our plates and found our table. As I picked up my grease-coated pizza, I reached for a napkin only to discover that there was not a single one left. Our designated napkin grabber for the night stole a handful from the table next to us and handed them to me. We then noticed something written on one of the napkins buried in the pile. No one knows who wrote on the napkins, but whoever it was is supremely AWESOME!” – Izzy

Photos from: here and here

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#238 Sticking your foot in the door just before it closes

Close call.

You almost had to open that door from the fully-closed position. Hands on doorknobs, fingers on sweaty bacteria, we don’t want that. Good thing you wedged your sneaker in there before it shut completely and saved us alllllllll the hassle.


— Email message —

“Hi Neil, my friend Amy discovered your book on her birthday, and we stayed up until 3 in the morning while she read it to me, and from then on I was inspired to keep a log of my own personal moments of Awesome like #16: Slurping all the half-melted mini marshmallows off the top of your hot chocolate in one fantastic slurp, and #20: When you’re sure you’ve gained weight but the scale says you’ve lost 2 pounds! Here’s a picture of Amy and I with my book.” – Jaclyn

Photo from: here

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#239 The one bite with all toppings in it

Lettuce is overrated.

Seriously, sandwich place — we don’t need a watery chompful of the pale green gratedness every time we bite into your squashed six-inch sub. Piling two handfuls on there like you’re setting up the stable with straw for the horse to give birth is too much. Hay hay, we’re saying we’ve really had enough of the flavorless green stuff. Cut off the crusts, scrap those nibbles, and let’s get to that bite with all the toppings in it:

1. On a hamburger! Grease glistens on that ketchupy smeared bite of pinkness, with little onions, pickle tasters, and tiny drips of mustard all coating the warm and mealy middle.

2. On a burrito! Helloooo, guacamole. We missed you, sour cream. In this dream scene the white and green combines with blackened chicken chunks, limey rice, and tangy salsa to give you a flavor explosion. Sometimes you get so excited you accidentally eat some of the tin foil by accident. These things happen.

3. On a sundae! There’s nothing sweeter than hitting the perfect ratio of melty vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, clumpy-cold chocolate sauce, and sprinkled nuts for texture. Welcome to the Taste Nucleus. Just close your eyes and enjoy hitting the sweet spot.

4. On homemade anything! Whether it’s the cookie bite with chocolate chips and walnuts or the lasagna chomp where you hit the extra mushrooms and mozzarella, you’re loving that bite with a little bit of whatever mom threw in the pot.

Yes, that bite with all the toppings in it is a magical place sitting in a towering throne that offers glimmering dining room riches you haven’t seen before and may not see again. To get there you must battle through bland bun nibbles, spoon past all-whipped cream bites, and chomp past plain rice or grated lettuce nightmares.

When you hit that bite with all the toppings in it make sure you take a minute to celebrate finally getting there.

You made it to Flavor Paradise.


— Email message —

“Hi Neil, We just got the book of even more awesome last night and we were all reading it cause we love it. Today we were inspired to write down a few things that we think are awesome. Some of our favorites are pulling your hair up into a messy bun and changing into comfy clothes after a long day, when you feel like you’re the only person in the entire world that knows what you’re doing at that moment and learning how to land a front flip.” – Carolyn (14), Sarah (10) and Robbie (7)

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#240 Being single

We see you, we hear you.

We see those movie endings and we hear those greeting cards. We know the cheesy quotes and we sing those ballads at bars. We feel those preaching choirs and we read those magazine tips. We feel our parents pushing and we hear your chatty lips.

Yes, we know having a boyfriend is great and we know it’s beautiful and kind. But all we’re saying today, and all we’re trying to prove, is that you don’t need a killer girlfriend to have a killer mood.

Let’s chat about ten winning ways to celebrate your solo days:

1. Some like it hot. When you’re on your own you’re the master of the tank and the chances of a random flush scalding your skin is pretty slim. You’re less likely to run out of hot water so just twist that dial and soak into the zone.

2. One set of parents. Sure, you lose out on some inlaw naps but you could gain back holiday budgets, extra bedrooms, and Saturday evenings. Note to any inlaws reading this: This entry is about other inlaws, not you.

3. Take back the night. When you’re bumping around by yourself there’s no need to worry about making too much noise early or late. Tiptoes, quiet TV watching, and softly shutting doors take a backseat to cranking tunes, late-night phone calls, and your big galoomping feet.

4. Don’t be an ass. Single folks have no obligation to do joint Halloween costumes like Beauty and the Beast or the classic two-person donkey. Because don’t we all feel a little bit sorry for that couple dressed as Salt and Pepper shakers leaving the party at 10pm?

5. Flirt like you mean it. Chitchatting with sparkly objects of your desire is good fun. When you’re single ditch the guilt and holler at the busty waitress or chiseled cop. Not only is it exciting, but you’re growing your social skills and constantly meeting new people.

6. Getting to know you. You’re the only you you’ve got. Born and blasted into the world you’re a baby brain who flies through life forming crackly connections with everyone you meet. But getting to know yourself through experiences and deep thoughts adds important shapes and smears to your identity.

7. Bargain basement holidays. Tap your wallet and smile next time you walk by a towering Valentine’s Day display of heart-filled chocolates and pink teddy bears.

8. You can get with this or you can get with that. Are you hungry at 11pm? Get a burger! Are you bored on a Saturday night? Hit the scene! Do you want to free up your busy weekend or busy up your free one? Well the choice is yours! You can get with this or you can get with that. I think you’ll get with this for this is where it’s at.

9. Own your bed, own your life. When you’re single the entire bed is yours and you can test a variety of Starfish poses, Chun-Li leg kick positions, or even the extremely bold diagonal sleeping. (Rarely done.)

10. Embrace your disgusting habits. Clipping your toenails in bed, napping in piles of dirty clothes, or chomping greasy handfuls of potato chips over the sink is fine, fine, fine. The mirror won’t judge you and neither will anybody else.

People, let’s hear it today for being single. Exploring the world, finding adventures, and scoping big scenes are hallmarks of being cool with being you. Because look — falling in love is great and falling in love is nice but that doesn’t mean going alone can’t also be sugar and spice. Good days and bad days, setting suns and shining stars, it’s all about perspective and focusing on who you are. Because if all you need is love, and all love needs is you, then it’s great to relax and enjoy… just being you with you.


— Tweets —

Photos from: here, here, here, here, and here

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